STAYING with Showmax, along with its collection of top international series and movies, the streaming platform has been going large on local content. And a wide variety of it too; this is a small selection to illustrate.
Recipes For Love & Murder arrives on May 25, the adaptation of Sally Andrew’s much loved Tannie Maria books. In season one, when a woman who wrote to her seeking advice is found dead, recipe advice columnist Tannie Maria and her colleague, rookie journalist Jessie, spring into action, determined to solve this small town murder and catch the killer.
Based on the first of Andrew’s bestselling novels, Recipes For Love and Murder was selected for Berlinale Series Market Selects 2022 – described as being for “curated series with high market potential”.
Award-winning Irish actress Maria Doyle Kennedy (The Tudors, Outlander, Orphan Black) stars as Maria Purvis, aka Tannie Maria. The rest of the cast is entirely South African, with Kylie Fisher (Zamanti in Troukoors) earning shoutouts from the likes of Variety and Decider for her breakthrough role as Jessie. Also look out for SAFTA nominees Tony Kgoroge and Jennifer Steyn as chief detective Khaya Meyer and Hattie Wilson, publisher of the Karoo Gazette, respectively, plus a host of familiar faces.
A co-production between M-Net, Acorn TV in America, and two-time International Emmy nominees Both Worlds Pictures, the 10-episode series is directed by SAFTA winners Christiaan Olwagen (Kanarie) and Karen Jeynes (Puppet Nation ZA), who also adapted the novel. The murder mystery is set against the idyllic backdrop of a small fictional Karoo town called Eden, which was largely created in Prince Albert, with gorgeous cinematography by SAFTA winner and Camerimage nominee Vicci Turpin (Poppie Nongena, Four Corners).
TVFanatic says it’s “delightful… The vistas are stunning! The food is even better… Murder never tasted so good!” while The New York Times says the series, “offers the same mix of human drama, gorgeous landscapes, local colour and mouthwatering cooking [as the book]” adding that “despite the murders and simmering racial undertones, the show keeps its warm, humorous tone through the quiet, grounded character of Maria, with her empathetic, practical advice.”
In June 2023, Rise: The Siya Kolisi Story will have its international premiere at Tribeca, one of the world’s top film festivals. It’s available to stream now on Showmax.
The 92-minute documentary reveals a different side to the Springboks’ first black African captain, who led South Africa to victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. In addition to documenting his improbable rise to international stardom, the intimate documentary also sees Kolisi open up about his struggle with alcoholism and his relationship with his wife Rachel.
An Orange Films and Star Films production for Supersport, Rise is directed by Tebogo “Tebza” Malope, who’s won Gold at Cannes Lions and the Grand Prix at the Loerie Awards, among other honours. The documentary boasts a soundtrack by Mandisi Dyantis and Haezer, who also edited the feature.
As Tribeca programmer Casey Baron says, Rise: The Siya Kolisi Story “jumps off the screen like a fairy tale” and is “universal in its themes of overcoming, community, passion, and forgiveness.”
Imibuzo is a true crime documentary anthology that will answer your lingering questions about some of South Africa’s biggest news stories from the last decade.
Season one of the Showmax Original revisits the murders of Flabba from Skwatta Kamp; Tshegofatso Pule, Phumeza Pepeta, Karabo Mokoena and Tshepang Pitse; LGBTQIA+ musician and activist Lindokuhle Cele; and the children of Sibusiso Mpungose, as well as the Enyobeni Tavern massacre. Other episodes focus on televangelist Tim Omotoso, who is currently in jail awaiting trial on 97 charges of rape, racketeering and human trafficking; and Sibongile Mali, who went on a spending spree after R14m was erroneously deposited into her account. Tell us you wouldn’t do the same.
Imibuzo is being produced by POP24, part of Media24, who made the reality series This Body Works For Me, which topped the Showmax Top 20 and Twitter trends charts. POP24 also co-produced the SAFTA-nominated true crime anthology Huisgenoot: Ware Lewensdramas.
In the Showmax film Hands Up, a hardworking police officer (Lehasa Moloi from Rockville and Mrs. Right Guy) learns the love of his life (former Miss South Africa finalist Luyolo Mngonyama) is the diamond thief he’s been hunting down. He finds himself caught between turning her in or running away with her.
Ishmauel Songo (Lingashoni, The Wife) co-stars as her ex-boyfriend and partner in crime, along with the likes of Siyasanga Papu (Gomora) and Aubrey Mmakola (The Station).
Hands Up topped the movie charts on Showmax on its release. The action-packed romcom is the fourth Showmax film by executive producer and director Thapelo Motloung (Gog’Shezi’s Christmas, Laduma). “Hand’s Up is a rom-com like no other, starring some of the best talent of our time and filled with laughter, joy, love and thrills,” says Motloung.
Commissioning editor Zolisa Sigwanda agrees. “Hands Up is a fun movie with a stellar cast, a not-so-typical rom-com which offers twists and turns and all the feels. Lovers and families alike will enjoy this one and all the thrills it offers.”
And coming next month, Rosemary’s Hitlist, a Showmax Original true-crime documentary series about cop-turned-serial-killer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu. The trailer has just dropped, watch it here.
On 12 October 2015, Ndlovu’s live-in lover, Yingwani Maurice Mabasa, the father of her only living child at the time, went missing. Three days later, his body was found in Olifantsfontein – with 76 stab wounds. Mabasa had 16 policies in his name, totalling over R400 000 – and Ndlovu was the beneficiary of all of them…
These weren’t the first payouts from suspicious deaths to Ndlovu. She was eventually sentenced in 2021 to six concurrent life terms for the murders of not only Mabasa but also five of her family members: her sister, two nephews, a niece and a cousin. Together, their killsurance was worth over R1.4 million to Ndlovu.